Says association too wishy-washy on retail choice.
CONSUMER CHOICE MAY TURN BELLY UP THIS Congress but it has hit the gut of the nation's rural cooperative association: a member co-op has dropped out over the NRECA's stance on a federal Choice mandate. But before this story goes to press, the two sides (em the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and Intermountain Rural Co-operative of Colorado (em may have shaken hands and shaken heads over the "misunderstanding."
That's because the disagreement could amount to nothing more than a cagey move by Intermountain to draw the attention of the NRECA and others to the co-op's vehement anti-wheeling stance. Could Intermountain's $50,000 annual dues check be in the mail?
Stan R. Lewandowski Jr., the co-op's g.m., ironically recommended to his board that it renew membership for the co-op for 1998. The board then voted 6-1 to drop out. Lewandowski, however, hasn't let that vote color his view of NRECA and its apparent opposition to retail choice.
"It's not really a lot of big issues, but it's just sort of a change to: 'Don't be wishy-washy,'" he says. "They just take a wishy-washy stand. It depends on who they talked to last [within the association]."
The defection isn't likely to incite members to leave over dissatisfaction with NRECA's too-pro or too-con position on wheeling. There are wide opinions among the group's 900 co-op members. Lewandowski's sentiments, rooted in low all-requirements contract costs, are among the loudest.
NRECA CEO Glenn English, meanwhile, admits it's difficult because the association must help co-ops in those states calling for retail choice.